Massive Attack were scheduled to play at Mad Cool festival on Saturday, but cancelled at the last minute due to sound bleed from Franz Ferdinand, who was playing at a different stage nearby.
Members of Massive Attack approached the Loop stage, where they had been originally scheduled to perform in 15-minutes, but upon hearing Franz Ferdinand play at a neighbouring stage, walked off and refused to play.
In a Twitter statement, Mad Cool said that the band claimed the stage where “Franz Ferdinand was playing at the time would bother them during the performance of their show.”
Knowing how much Massive Attack invest into their show, message and art, the organisation at Mad Cool must have been at pretty low standards. Artists are not machines that can perform when you press play… We live in a world of utter disrespect for the human side of creativity. pic.twitter.com/nFyMj3u7nC
— Melissa Chemam (@melissachemam) July 14, 2018
Festival guests were also left waiting for Massive Attack for over and hour before any word of the cancellation was released.
The last minute cancellation left many festival attendees upset, leaving some to blame Mad Cool organizers for poor planning, while others were angry with the band as sound bleed is to be expected from a huge outdoor concert.
— Mecha Loca (@MechaLoca) July 14, 2018
Massive Attack sort your ego out. Deciding not to go on due to (minor) sound bleeds (dick move but if you must), keeping silent on socials, is not respectable musicianship. Not great of #MadCool to take 1.5 hours to break the news to fans either.
— Alice Mortimer (@alicelmortimer) July 14, 2018
Many thanks for your great concert in Madcool. Please do not go to festivals if you want to play alone
— Pablo (@HDUCDP) July 14, 2018
Festival organizer Javier Arnaiz told El País that Massive Attack was always “very reluctant” to play, and that the band still refused to perform when alternatives were offered. Arnaiz also reportedly spoke with managers of other scheduled bands La M.O.D.A. and The Bloody Beetroots, to delay their performances so that Massive Attack could play a shorter set. However, Massive Attack still refused to play.
“It got to the point where we asked them to give us the solution,” he said. “We were prepared to stop the entire festival so that no one else was playing and avoid cancelling.”
Arnaiz then continued, saying “We asked them not to cancel for safety’s sake, but they wouldn’t budge. Just when Franz Ferdinand finished, they confirmed they wouldn’t be going out there.”
The organizer also told the online magazine that all festivals have a certain amount of bleed, and that this was no more than normal.
“The problem is that no one thought that the sound would bleed any more than it typically does at any festival,” Arnaiz said. “It happens all the time at festivals, and the technicians have it under control.”
Massive Attack has yet to issue a statement on their cancellation.